In the many years that I have played lacrosse, I have spoken to many people – fans and players – about what’s the best position.
Is it the glamor of the attackers, taking the kudos of scoring?
Is it the crucial role of defenders, shoring up attack after attack, and reverting defense back into attack?
After speaking to so many people, I often received the same answer:
The best position in lacrosse is the midfielder. This is the position that requires the most versatile range of skills. Midfielders have stamina, speed, variety, and provide the crucial backbone of the side.
A lacrosse team is usually made up of one goalie, three defenders, three attackers, and three midfielders.
There are of course advantages and challenges of each.
The goalie is crucial for team success, but it is the position most prone to injury. Also, you spend large amounts of the game standing around.
The attackers take the plaudits of scoring but are less involved throughout the match than other positions.
The defenders have to be steely and resilient.
But the midfielders get a bit of everything – offense, defense, skill, stamina, versatility…they have the best of all parts of lacrosse.
Here are the nine top reasons why being a midfielder is the best position in lacrosse.
1. They Are The Most Versatile Players
Midfielders are the most versatile players in lacrosse.
Their roles include aspects of both defensive and offensive players.
In men’s lacrosse, there are 3 designated midfielders and in women’s lacrosse, there are five. One is at the center, two are for attacking and two are defensive midfielders.
They must quickly change positions to defend or attack and open place in the field so that a goal can be made.
2. They Have Skills!
Because the main objective of a midfielder is to be the transition the ball from defensive players to offensive players by maintaining control of the ball and to do this they must have incredible passing skills.
Running with a ball is incredibly difficult so they must maintain possession of the ball and pass between all the players so that a scoring opportunity can be created.
Midfielders should have high levels of endurance, should be physically fit since they cover most of the field, and have to quickly change positions all over the field.
Passing, catching, dodging, stick handling and ball handling are all parts of skills that are required by the midfielder when he/she has possession of the ball. (Source)
3. They Are Great Runners
Midfielders are great runners. They have really fast and strong legs because they need to be at a certain point at a certain time.
Midfielders have a combination of speed, quickness, endurance, and strength. They not only need to know where they are needed but need to have incredibly fast legs to be able to reach their target fast.
The mental knowledge that they have to be at a certain point in the field would be nothing with the ability to execute the action.
4. They Have Great Stamina
Constant running requires stamina and because the midfielders are considered the “workhorses” of any lacrosse team, they have incredible strength and stamina.
They can run across the field, playing the role of both defense and offense men. They are able to maintain their skills while making sure that they don’t get exhausted.
5. They Are Great At Dodging Too!
The midfielders can also score goals when working as the offense.
Midfielders can anticipate having to take a shot at the goal eight yards away and this is because the majority of the time, the defense of the other team is standing in front of the goal.
In a situation like this, the midfielders use different advanced dodging techniques that allow them to be free to take a shot to the goal. This is another one of their amazing lacrosse skills.
To check out some fantastic dodge skills from midfielders, check out this video!:
6. There Are So Many Types Of Midfielders
Midfielders are very diverse in lacrosse and they fall under several categories.
An attacking midfielder joins the offense to score a goal. The job of an attacking midfielder is to retain the ball and move it close to the critical area of the goal and take shots when possible.
The FOGO means a face-off and is a relatively new term and the job of this player is very specific which is to win the face-off, give the ball to a teammate and then retire off the field. They are present on the field for this specific purpose.
A defensive midfielder is responsible for just that, defending the midfield and the defensive area.
In Infield lacrosse, there can be both long stick and short stick midfielders. These midfielders have strong skills, endurance, and skill so that they are able to cross into the offensive area when necessary.
A winger is a midfielder that uses wings or alleys when playing. Their main job is to challenge for loose balls.
A two-way midfielder plays both the offensive and defensive. These players are strong all-rounders and have skills in passing shooting ball handling and defending.
7. They Are Well Conditioned
Because midfielders have so many skills and have to have immense amounts of practice to be able to work the way they do, midfielders have to be incredibly seasoned.
They have to train their bodies again and again so that they are able to keep up with the demands of their position.
Despite putting in such hard work, they are barely ever recognized and almost never score goals. So they never get to have the spotlight of scoring the winning goal.
Dan Burns of the Chesapeake Bayhawks says, “Going in you know that it’s an unsung position.”
Midfielders have to work incredibly hard because, in the end, they are the ones that get targeted by the opposite team. They have to work hard for their position and have to train their bodies more than any other player on the field.
8. They Are The Backbone Of The Team
Midfielders are the backbone of the team. They play both offense and defense, get the ball, run to their position, have swift thinking, and provide over al support to the team.
Despite having so much presence in the field, midfielders are unappreciated.
Chesapeake head coach Dave Cottle says, “They’re the toughest guys on the field because they get taken every game over and over again. They need to have a cornerback mentality and be able to put a play behind them.”
Not only do they need skills such as speed, stamina, hustle, and the ability to play both offense and defense but they also responsible for the transition of the game.
It involves retrieving loose balls, clearing saved shots, and running through the field passing balls. Midfielders do not have to be good scorers but rather their skill needs to lie in whether they can “read” what is unfolding in the game.
9. They Are Selfless
Midfielders have to be selfless.
Their position is constructed so that they are unable to be selfish. Their job is to run and take the ball through the field so the team attackers are able to score.
They have to contest and collect free balls and also have to play a diverse number of positions at the drop of the hat.
Their position is also the hardest in lacrosse because they need to develop a diverse number of skills and these skills must be exceptional enough so they have great ball control, be great at passing, stick handling, and everything else.
It’s a position where the players sacrifice their glory for the victory of the team and this is why all the midfielders are selfless with no desire or drive for glory.
The midfielder is a position that is highly underappreciated in lacrosse. The players are multi-dimensional, diverse with exceptional abilities.
They are termed as the “backbone of the team’ because the offense would not be able to score without the midfielders getting the ball to them.
Midfielders are selfless because they do not have any desire for glory rather they want the team to win and because of this, the midfielder does not possess any exceptional scoring ability.
Their whole position is based on supporting the team, being other offensive and defensive players when needed and most of all being selfless because they have to be the toughest out of all the players.
They are flexible, with varied abilities, and are able to support the team by helping them score.